The benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle are immense for individuals and communities alike. Communities with smokefree policies clear the air of cancer-causing chemicals, and can even help people quit tobacco. Also, a tobacco-free community can result in reduced healthcare costs. Several studies have found that communities with comprehensive smokefree policies or smoking bans have decreased hospital admissions for heart attacks within one year of the ban’s effective date.
Improving community health requires action from all members of society. Businesses can implement tobacco-free policies and offer tobacco cessation programs to current employees who smoke. City councils and community leaders can pass strong local ordinances to prevent initiation of tobacco use, and you can encourage loved ones to quit with help from the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.
Over 693,300 adult Oklahomans currently smoke.
Also, community health can be improved by banning smoking in public places like parks and outdoor recreation areas. Doing so protects the community from the effects of secondhand smoke, plus:
- Parks are established to promote healthy activities and community health, and tobacco-free policies fit with this idea.
- Smoke-free parks and communities reduce harmful cigarette litter. Discarded cigarettes pollute the land and water and may be ingested by toddlers, pets, birds or fish.
- Tobacco-free policies help change community norms. They establish the fact that tobacco use is not an acceptable behavior for young people or adults within the entire community.
Throughout the state, a variety of organizations and coalitions are working together on a local level to reduce the toll of tobacco in their communities. Tobacco-free festivals, celebrations and other local events are just one way communities are making a difference for the health of Oklahoma.